Following the guilty verdict two Fridays ago in the federal case against Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, former SF Appeal and SF Mag reporter Max Cherney sat down for a new jailhouse interview with Chow for Vice. Cherney says he'd established a bond over time with Chow, who even let him see a draft of his memoir in progress and photos of the infamous David Jordan, the undercover federal agent who spent five years secretly wiretapping his every meeting with Chow as he posed as an East Coast mobster Vice may even have published a photo of Jordan, since removed.
I was closer than most to the case, covering it for a local magazine, a blog, and a weekly newspaper. I first met Chow at the San Francisco county jail, a soul-sucking compound in the belly of the city's "tech district," South of Market. The metal stools, thick glass windows, and ongoing clang of gates smashing shut made for onerous circumstances, but Raymond and I continued a dialogue throughout his trial. I always found him irreverent and upbeat Chow's longtime girlfriend told me after the verdict that he's "insanely strong" and "very Buddha-like."
Chow's defense attorney Tony Serra and his co-counsel Curtis Briggs are both saying that they will appeal the judgement against Chow, in particular noting that Judge Charles Breyer was prejudicial and inclined to protect city leaders who were implicated in the initial federal indictment. Briggs calls Breyer, who is the brother of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, an "attack dog whose sole job was to guard the elite's secrets and to usher Chow as quickly as possible to life in prison."
It seems clear, though, that pending any appeals, Chow is set to spend a long while in prison again, as he did in the 1990s, try as he might to prove that he was never the organized crime kingpin that he's been made out to be.